The Paranormal

It is only fitting to end off our horror-themed month with films about paranormal events. There is nothing spookier than the unknown, and what better way to get viewers on the edge of their seats. Here are three famous paranormal films that will get your hearts racing. Enjoy!!!

The Amityville Horror [1979]

The Amityville Horror is a timeless classic that will forever live in the hearts of horror fanatics. Many speculate whether or not the story is real or just a publicity hoax, but we’ll leave that for you to decide. The film is truly terrifying and stands out as one of the best paranormal stories and horror films ever made. The film is eerie throughout, filled with haunts and disturbing imagery that was original for its time.

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The Amityville Horror [1979]

Synopsis

Based on a true story that was claimed by writer Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house which ends up in terror. Despite full disclosure by the real estate agent of the house’s history, George and Kathy buy the house. George says, “Houses don’t have memories,” but they turn to their family priest Father Delaney who believes the house is haunted and performs an exorcism on the house. But the evil spirit in the house causes him to become blind and makes him very sick. With the help of another priest Father Bolen and a police detective, George and Kathy face the fears of the house, but not knowing the spirit is planning to possess George and then the children…

In November 1974, the prior owner of the home had a son, Ronald “Butch” Defeo Jr, who killed his entire family in a single night as they slept in their beds. He claimed to police authorities that a hitman killed his family, but several other stories of how his family was murdered began to unravel. Ronald was immediately labelled a suspect to the murders, and after enough police interrogation, he confessed to his crimes. But this was no ordinary confession, as Ronald believed that evil spirits in the house told him to kill his whole family. Was he delusional? Or could it be the same spirits who haunted and scrutinized the Lutz family?

Poltergeist [1982]

Produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), one could only imagine this horror film to be anything but a disappointment. Audiences knew they were in for a whirlwind of terrifying experiences combined with never seen before special effects (in case we weren’t scared enough). And, if you’ve never had a phobia of clowns, that’s all about to change …

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Poltergeist [1982]

Synopsis

While living an average family house in a pleasant neighbourhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne, seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television. It is not for long when the mysterious beings enter the house’s walls. At first, seeming like harmless ghosts, they play tricks and amuse the family, but they take a nasty turn- they horrify the family to death with angry trees and murderous dolls, and finally abduct Carol Anne into her bedroom closet, which seems like the entrance to the other side.

 

Poltergeist was a success due to its believable characters, fantastic storyline, and that wonderful sense of twisted imagination. Instead of just standing still and letting the special effects overwhelm the cast and audiences, Spielberg and Hooper tried to envision the movie’s strange events through the eyes of the family. This way, the scenes felt more authentic and chilling, as a horror film should.

The Exorcist [1973]

It goes without saying that ‘The Exorcist’ is one of the scariest horror films in film history. No one can deny the brutal shocks and indescribable obscenities that this movie carries, leaving audiences feeling raw and unsettled. One man placed a bet with his friends that he could sit in an empty cinema and watch the entire film. If you guessed he lost the bet, you were right.

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The Exorcist [1973]

Synopsis

A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behaviour and physical makeup of her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, a young priest at nearby Georgetown University begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother’s terminal sickness. And, book-ending the story, a frail, elderly priest recognizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy.

 

 

 

The film establishes a new low for grotesque special effects. Among the sights to which the audience are exposed to, nothing can be more shocking than watching the possessed girl walk down a staircase on all fours with a face that can only be described as mutilated and ghastly. It is an image that many struggle to erase. The film is not for the faint-hearted, but even horror fans need to prepare for the events of this film.

There are many other paranormal films just as scary and worth watching. Just make sure you’ve got someone sitting next to you – watching horror on your own is never the best idea. Let us know what your favourite paranormal film is! We hope you enjoyed being spooked out!!!

Reference: www.imdb.com  

Serial Killer Movies: Then and Now

All of us horror fans have a slight obsession with serial killers. We find their psychopathic frame of mind rather intriguing, and we all want to know where everything went wrong that led them to become sadistic murderers. But more importantly, which serial killer is the deadliest of them all? Many psychotic thrillers have turned into enormous franchises, thus; following one or two remakes. Let’s take a look at Hollywood’s three greatest serial killers: Norman Bates, Leatherface and Hannibal Lecter.

Psycho [1960] vs. Psycho [1998]

If you haven’t heard of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror flick, “Psycho”, you’ve been living under a rock! This psychological horror masterpiece painted Hitchcock as a master film-maker and director, as he changed the way that audiences looked at the psychological horror genre.

Synopsis

Phoenix office worker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store.

Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.

The 1998 remake, directed by Gus Green Van Sant Jr. angered many critics and viewers, simply because Van Sant didn’t not so much remake the film as he did clone it, virtually shot for shot, line for line. From experience, it is evident that many movie remakes do not exceed the level of the original, however; audiences like to compare the similarities between the two versions, but in this case, it’s easier to talk about what’s different! The most obvious difference is colour. Hitchcock chose to film in black and white, as it added a darker, sinister edge to the film. The 1960 cast also set a high standard of performances portrayed by Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Vera Miles, Janet Leigh, and John Gavin. However; Vince Vaughn’s performance of Norman Bates in the 98’ version was quite chilling and seriously disturbing. We’ll give him a thumbs up for that! But one thing we can’t take away from Anthony Perkins is his close up shot in the final scene. His dark, emotionless eyes really translate the look of a serial killer and psychopath, sending shivers down your spine. Nonetheless, this goes to show that some films should be left alone rather than be tampered with.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [1974] vs. [2003]

In 1974, director Tobe Hooper introduced us to the gut-wrenching, American slasher film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film depicts a family of monstrous individuals who resort to murder and cannibalism after the town they live in becomes deserted. The executioner behind the murders is known as Leatherface, a large, delinquent man who uses a chainsaw to kill his victims. Based on the real-life serial killer, Ed Gein, Hooper thought it would scare viewers even more if Leatherface wore his victim’s faces as masks!

Synopsis [1974]

En route to visit their grandfather’s grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home… where they’re plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills…

Synopsis [2003]

Driving through the backwoods of Texas, five youths pick up a traumatized hitchhiker, who shoots herself in their van. Shaken by the suicide, the group seeks help from the locals, but their situation becomes even more surreal when they knock on the door of a remote homestead. It’s quickly apparent the residents are a family of inbred psychopaths, and the unlucky youths suddenly find themselves running for their lives. In hot pursuit is a disfigured, chainsaw-wielding cannibal known as Leatherface.

Most viewers like to remain loyal to a film’s original piece, but in this case, there are mixed opinions. Both versions are terrifying and will leave you with an unsettling feeling throughout the film, but which one is better? In 2003 Marcus Nispel and Michael Bay decided to produce a remake of this classic horror flick with a little modern-day twist. Although the remake followed the same story line, more or less, slight alterations were made. The biggest change of all was the transformation of the Sawyer family to the Hewitt family. Some female characters were added to the Hewitt family but the same level of cruel and merciless behavior was present.

The 1974 version lacks a lot of blood and guts, which actually makes this a masterpiece as it still brings out the terrified side in all of us. All of the gore that was absent from the original was put full-force on display in the remake. The modernization of film making has left viewers almost desensitized to the amount of violence exposed to us on screen, so what good would the 2003 remake be without all the blood and guts? One thing is for sure, the obscene amount of gore in the remake brings a new form of discomfort and anxiety to the audience that was missing in the original. Most viewers would agree that the sight of leatherface alone is enough to make your skin crawl. He is ruthless, sadistic, and to put it plain and simple, psychotic.

Silence of the Lambs [1991] vs. Hannibal [2001]

Anthony Hopkins gives the award-winning performance of Hannibal “the cannibal” Lecter, a flesh-eating psychiatrist villain with no mercy to spare. Lecter was first introduced to us in the well-acclaimed thriller, The Silence of the Lambs, followed by the riveting sequel, Hannibal.

The Silence of the Lambs [1991]

Synopsis

FBI trainee Clarice Starling works hard to advance her career, including trying to hide or put behind her West Virginia roots, of which if some knew would automatically classify her as being backward or white trash. After graduation, she aspires to work in the agency’s Behavioral Science Unit under the leadership of Jack Crawford. While she is still a trainee, Crawford does ask her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned thus far for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer, he who cannibalized his victims. Clarice is able to figure out the assignment is to pick Lecter’s brains to help them solve another serial murder case, that of someone coined by the media as Buffalo Bill who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern US, all young women who are slightly overweight especially around the hips, all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who were stripped of large swaths of skin.

Hannibal [2001]

Synopsis

The continuing saga of Hannibal Lecter, the murdering cannibal. He is presently in Italy and works as a curator at a museum. Clarice Starling, the FBI agent whom he aided to apprehend a serial killer, was placed in charge of an operation but when one of her men botches it, she’s called to the mat by the Bureau. One high ranking official, Paul Krendler has it in for her. But she gets a reprieve because Mason Verger, one of Lecter’s victims who is looking to get back at 

Lecter for what Lecter did to him, wants to use Starling to lure him out. When Lecter sends her a note she learns that he’s in Italy so she asks the police to keep an eye out for him. But a corrupt policeman who wants to get the reward that Verger placed on him, tells Verger where he is. But they fail to get him. Later Verger decides to frame Starling which makes Lecter return to the States. And the race to get Lecter begins.

Just when you thought a sequel might ruin the original, an even better adaptation unfolds. Even the name “Hannibal” gives people the creeps, because most of us associate the name with the cannibalistic serial killer. It is evident that both films were a tremendous success, however; Silence of the Lambs is where we first met Lecter, suggesting that this was the starting point of his sadistic legacy. Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lecter caught the imagination of viewers and transformed the doctor into an unforgettable monster and comic figure.

All three serial killers are inspired by real-life events, which makes the films even more terrifying to watch. But that’s what horror is all about! It’s hard to explain why we like watching horror flicks, even though they give us nightmares and scare us beyond belief. Maybe it’s the thrill we get when we don’t know what’s coming! It’s all about SUSPENSE! It’s a great excuse to chow on your popcorn or cuddle up close to a friend. Either way, horror is here to stay!

Movie content source: http://www.imdb.com/

Dracula: Then and Now

Dracula has been around for years and every generation of filmmakers has their own take on this mythical creature. Where did Dracula originate from and how did filmmakers bring their renditions to the screen.

Dracula (Nosferatu) [1931]

This movie is based on the novel written by Bram Stoker and even though it had been put into a film in 1922 under the name ‘Nosferatu’ this German masterpiece was still not a match for this true cinematic classic that was ‘Dracula’. The main actor, Bela Lugosi, rose to instant fame when he played the part of this suave and sophisticated nobleman who had ladies swoon with his cultured Hungarian accent.

Synopsis

After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian Mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina’s health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiancé, John Harker, and Dr Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

Now, fast-forward to present day and we have a smorgasbord of Dracula / vampire movies and TV series to choose from and most of them have the common thread, that Count Dracula was the first vampire and their character origins relate to the Count himself. Let’s have a look at a couple of these variations…

Bram Stoker’s Dracula [1992]

Synopsis

This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel of the same name. A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker’s betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina’s closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy’s friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away.

 

The cast includes Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Murray / Elisabeta and Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Dracula: Untold [2014]

This movie was the most recent in the telling of Dracula’s tale.

Synopsis

At the turn of the century, the young lord Vlad and his family live a peaceful life ruling over their small kingdom, but when a Turk warlord demands from Vlad a thousand boys and his son to create an army Vlad seeks a terrible power that will allow him to protect his kingdom and family from the Turks at a terrible cost.

The cast includes Luke Evans as Vlad, Sarah Gadon as Mirena and Dominic Cooper as Mehmed and directed by Gary Shore.

 

 

A couple of honourable mentions when it comes to spin-offs from the original movie would definitely be….

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles [1994]

Synopsis

It hasn’t even been a year since a plantation owner named Louis lost his wife in childbirth. Both his wife and the infant died, and now he has lost his will to live. A vampire named Lestat takes a liking to Louis and offers him the chance to become a creature of the night: a vampire. Louis accepts, and Lestat drains Louis’ mortal blood and then replaces it with his own, turning Louis into a vampire. Louis must learn from Lestat the ways of the vampire.

 

 

Directed by Neil Jordan and cast includes Brad Pitt as Louis, Christian Slater as Malloy and Tom Cruise as Lestat.

Queen of the Damned [2002]

Synopsis

After many years of sleeping in his coffin, the vampire Lestat awakens only to find that the world has changed and he wants to be a part of it. He gathers a following and becomes a rock star only to find that his music awakens the ancient Queen Akasha and she wants him to become her king…

Directed by Michael Rymer and cast includes the late Aaliyah as Queen Akasha, Stuart Townsend as The Vampire Lestat and Marguerite Moreau as Jesse.

 

And, last but not least …

Dracula [2013 – 2014] TV Series

Synopsis

Dracula travels to London, with dark plans for revenge against those who ruined his life centuries earlier. However, his plan is complicated when he falls in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

This TV Series consists of 10 episodes, directed by Cole Haddon and the cast includes Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson, Jessica De Gouw as Ilona and Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing.

 

If the supernatural is your kind of thing, then it’s safe to say you are familiar with the Count and all the variations of his origin and existence. We might have mentioned a couple of movies that you have not seen yet or we might have rekindled some spark in you to watch them again. Either way vampire stories are here to stay so if you love them, welcome them into your home and if not, stock up on the garlic…. It’s gonna be a long night.

Movie Information courtesy of IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/?ref_=nv_home

Creature Features: The Classics

Seeing as it’s October and Halloween is around the corner, we have decided to make this month’s theme a compilation of the horrors and thrillers the film industry has to offer. We have chosen a couple of movies that are definitely worth a mention and that might spark some memories from your childhood.

IT [1990]

In 1960, a group of social outcasts who are bullied by a gang of greasers led by Henry Bowers are also tormented by an evil demon who can shape-shift into a clown and feed on children’s fears and kill them. After defeating the demonic clown as kids, it resurfaces 30 years later and they must finish it off as adults once again.

This TV Mini-Series based on the book written by Stephen King was definitely one of the scariest movies of its time and most definitely one of the main reasons people are afraid of Clowns. It is currently being remade under the direction of Andreas Muschietti and will be released in late 2017. First Look at New It [2017]

The Fly [1986]

Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist attempts to woo investigative journalist Veronica Quaife by offering her a scoop on his latest research in the field of matter transportation, which against all the expectations of the scientific establishment have proved successful. Up to a point. Brundle thinks he has ironed out the last problem when he successfully transports a living creature, but when he attempts to teleport himself a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle finds he is a changed man. This Science-Gone-Mad film is the source of the quotable quote “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

 

#DidYouKnow, the infamous cat-monkey scene where Brundlefly fuses a cat and the remaining baboon and then beats it to death with a lead pipe was cut following a Toronto screening. According to producer Stuart Cornfeld, the audience felt that there was no turning back for Seth and they lost all sympathy for his plight, which caused the rest of the film to not play as well. In Cornfeld’s own words: “If you beat an animal to death, even a monkey-cat, your audience is not gonna be interested in your problems anymore”.

Gremlins [1984]

Miniature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repairman, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house.

 

#DidYouKnow, the set for Kingston Falls is the same one used for Back to the Future (1985). Both movies were filmed in the Universal Studios backlot.

Leprechauns [1993]

When Dan O’Grady returns to the U.S. after stealing some Irish leprechaun’s pot of gold, he thinks he can settle down and enjoy his newfound wealth. He thought wrong. The leprechaun followed him and O’Grady barely gets away with his life, having locked the little monster in his basement. Ten years later, J.D. and his spoiled daughter Tory move in. By accident, the leprechaun is released and almost immediately the annoying creature starts to look for his gold, not displaying any respect for human life.

#DidYouKnow, according to the director, Warwick Davis, the movie was originally planned as a scary kid’s film, but the studio thought it would work better as a more adult horror, so inserts were filmed to increase the gore and violence.

All these movies have a few things in common: Growing up they were the scariest movies around and it haunted our dreams for years to come. We were definitely not allowed to watch them and because of that reason we wanted to watch them even more no matter the consequences.

 

At Retro Afrika Bioscope we love our old Classics so we hope this sparked a new flame of nostalgia so you can curl up in front of the TV with your favourite childhood scary movie this October if you dare!!!

Movie content source: http://www.imdb.com/?ref_=nv_home